Show ContentsDillion History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname is one of the Anglo-Norman names that arrived in Ireland in the wake of the 12th century invasion by Richard "Strongbow" de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. The surname Dillion belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. The name of the Dillion family comes from the name of the town of Lyon in central France. In France, the name may also have been a nickname for a fierce or brave warrior, as derived from the Old French word "lion," which meant "lion." The Irish Gaelic form of the surname Dillion is Diolún.

Early Origins of the Dillion family

The surname Dillion was first found in at Drumrany in County Westmeath (Irish: An Iarmhí) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster, where they were the Barons of Drumrany. The Dillon family is descended from Sir Henry de Leon, a member of a noble Breton family who came to Ireland in 1185, in the service of the Earl of Morton, who later became King John. For de Leon's service, King John granted him MacCarrons territory, part of Annaly, and other vast possessions, including a castle at Dunimon.

Early History of the Dillion family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dillion research. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1572, 1794, 1533, 1624, 1610, 1629, 1629, 1630, 1615, 1672, 1674, 1682, 1691, 1642, 1642, 1605, 1649, 1652, 1633, 1685, 1627, 1689, 1715 and 1713 are included under the topic Early Dillion History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dillion Spelling Variations

Since church officials and medieval scribes spelt each name as it sounded to them; as a result, a single person could accumulate many different versions of his name within official records. A close examination of the origins of the name Dillion revealed the following spelling variations: Dillon, Delion, Dilune, Dilon, Dylon, Dillan, Dillen and many more.

Early Notables of the Dillion family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Sir Bartholomew Dillon (died 1533), a leading Irish judge who held the offices of Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer and Lord Justice of Ireland. Hewas born at Riverston, County Meath. Theobald Dillon, 1st Viscount Dillon (died 1624), was an Irish military commander and adventurer who claimed descent from the Anglo-Norman Henry le Dillon; Lucas Dillon, 2nd Viscount Dillon (1610-1629); Theobald Dillon, 3rd Viscount Dillon (1629-1630); Thomas Dillon, 4th Viscount Dillon (1615-1672); Thomas Dillon, 5th Viscount Dillon (d. 1674); Lucas Dillon, 6th Viscount Dillon (d. 1682); Theobald Dillon, 7th Viscount Dillon...
Another 100 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dillion Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dillion Ranking

In the United States, the name Dillion is the 7,099th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [1]

United States Dillion migration to the United States +

During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Dillion:

Dillion Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Oliver Dillion, aged 53, who landed in America, in 1895
  • T. Dillion, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1896
Dillion Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Madge Dillion, aged 11, who immigrated to America from Limerick, in 1902
  • Hannah Dillion, who immigrated to the United States from Kenmare, Ireland, in 1908
  • Prudence Dillion, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States from Portadown, Ireland, in 1909
  • Ann Dillion, aged 71, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1916
  • Arthur Vernon Dillion, aged 44, who landed in America from Whitelad, Ireland, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Dillion (post 1700) +

  • James Leo "Jim" Dillion (1929-2010), American bronze medalist discus thrower at the 1952 Summer Olympics
  • J. Matt Dillion, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1988 [2]
  • Gerald Dillion, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1960 [2]
  • Mr. Thomas Martin Dillion B.E.M., British recipient of Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for public and charitable services [3]

The Dillion Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Dum spiro spero
Motto Translation: While I have breath I hope.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 28) . Retrieved from
  3. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook